Volunteering in The Sharing Economy

The Australian economy has, at last estimate, benefited from an average input of $14.6 billion in unpaid volunteer labour each year for the past few years. To put that into perspective, SpaceX is currently worth about $12 billion; the volunteering power that Australians are now generating is notionally worth more than the company that is privatising space flight and trying to beat NASA to colonise Mars.

However, if you were to take a peek at the statistics around volunteering, you would quickly discover how slowly the economy of volunteering moves in comparison with the wider global economy. In the age of the sharing economy, the concept of ‘volunteering’ has failed to tap into the benefits of a workforce that are migrating to on-demand and remote working styles.

Airtasker and Upwork are both generating considerable revenue as marketplaces

Airtasker and Upwork are both generating considerable revenue as marketplaces

The recent State of Volunteering report by PWC and Volunteering Australia showed in its key findings that, amongst other problems, potential volunteers were deterred from volunteering due to (1) a lack of flexibility in current volunteering programs, (2) a lack of support for online volunteering, and (3) a lack of engagement from volunteer organisations with volunteers about opportunities. Furthermore, the report showed that a whopping 86% of volunteer organisations need more volunteers. There is a clear need to help volunteer organisations better connect with people who want to volunteer, but don’t have the opportunities to do so.

Unlocking More Volunteer Potential with Skilled Remote Volunteering

‘Skilled remote volunteering’ (also known as ‘e-volunteering’, ‘online volunteering’, or simply ‘remote volunteering’) is unique from ‘traditional volunteering’ in that it matches the particular skills of each volunteer to the needs of the non-profit and allows the volunteer to work from an off-site location like their home, office, or flight. Rather than having a local accountant shaking the tin on the busy corner, a non-profit can utilise an accountant’s expertise to assist with financial planning, tax returns, and revenue reports from anywhere in the world. This benefits both parties, as the accountant has more flexibility about when she can volunteer and how she can do it, and the non-profit gains the benefits of having a high-quality accountant providing valuable resources for free.

Vollie will allow volunteers to volunteer from anywhere at any time, meaning your next time in transit could be used to change the world for the better.

Vollie will allow volunteers to volunteer from anywhere at any time, meaning your next time in transit could be used to change the world for the better.

Until now, engaging in skilled and remote volunteering programs has been a luxury few non-profits have managed to perfect due to two reasons:

  1. The ability to create projects that match the skills of a skilled volunteer is extremely time-consuming. A volunteer manager would need to know the volunteer’s skills, the charity’s broader requirements, and then be able to implement a project that the charity can create for the volunteer to maximise the volunteer’s time. This could take hours to plan for each volunteer, and may not result in a guaranteed project for the volunteer;
  2. Non-profits are time-poor, and the management of a remote workforce is an additional requirement that most charities cannot afford or find the resources for. Expecting an in-house volunteer manager to incorporate volunteers from around the world into their management plan has until now, been a task that is too hard to handle.

Vollie is the Answer

We built Vollie because we saw the need to unlock skilled online volunteering and knew how to do it in a way that made life easier for non-profit organisations. By providing a level of service that can take care of the creation and management of online volunteer projects, Vollie is removing the barriers that have prevented remote and skilled volunteering projects from happening in the past. By working with multiple charities, we’re also increasing the variety of projects available and thus reducing the risk of wasting a prospective volunteers’ time.

With Australians donating approximately $6.8 billion each year while volunteering $17.3 billion worth of their time, it is clear that the real value for non-profits comes from the efforts of volunteers. Vollie is looking to generate millions, if not billions, of dollars worth of value for our family of non-profit organisations through skilled remote volunteering projects that have been previously inaccessible due to technology and resourcing barriers.

How Can You Help?

Vollie needs the help of individuals and businesses to increase the talent pool available to our current and future family of non-profit organisations: the more volunteers we have, the more quality options there are available for charities! If you’re interested in signing up as an individual, or would like to sign up your business, head to our website and create an account today (it’s 100% free).

Volunteers make huge differences

With Vollie, you may never meet Theo the orphaned wombat, but you’ll certainly help to save more animals like him.

We are also always on the hunt for more charities to join the family! We charge a nominal fee to charities for listing on the platform and can help you to identify business needs that can be fulfilled by a skilled volunteer and then create and manage projects on your behalf (for a slightly higher fee). If you’re interested in joining up as a charity, head to our website or email Tanya, our Head of Operations, at [email protected].

Finally, you can help promote the great content we’re writing on our blog and promoting on our Facebook. We exist for the benefit of charities, and all of our content and promotional material is designed to reflect the good work that they do. By helping us, you’re helping them :).

 

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